REVIEW NEW WORK THE SALON PROJECT Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, until Sat 22 Oct ●●●●●
‘A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine taste and increase their knowledge.’ So says Wikipedia – the significant choice of source that The Salon Project uses to define its two hours of entertainment. Guests are kitted out in snugly- fitting Victorian-era costumes backstage, before being ushered into a large white room, embellished only by a pair of chandeliers, to make small talk and drink sparkling wine. This chattering is helped along by stimuli including talks from two new speakers each night (for example, an Icelandic designer who claims, without irony, that ‘a designer is the archaeologist of tomorrow’s things’), a piano recital and a ‘tableau vivant’ – a living picture created by naked models carrying mobile phones, iPods and laptops. The coiffed and primped audience are allowed to bring their camera phones in, and don’t hesitate to take photographs of these symbols of technological overdependence.
Technology rubs roughly up against everything in the Salon, especially at the evening’s climax, when a disturbing video is shown in which expressionless sword-carrying children are shown to have lain waste to any beauty and life the Salon had created. The children of science and progress have cut down their navel-gazing elders, whose iPods can’t do anything to save them. It’s an ugly message to send out after such an open-ended evening. It’s preferable to see the whole event as meaningless, in a good way – a blank canvas on which anything can be created. Yet this effort of creation is undone by technology, specifically the distracting clicks of those permitted camera phones. As clichéd as it seems, the video is prescient. The evening’s progress is undermined by everyone’s naturally gawkish humanity. Even the crewmembers that sashay through the crowds extemporising with self-conscious pretension about the ‘frisson’ of nakedness don’t offer anything particularly helpful. The Salon Project is a fascinating idea, rendered with meticulous detail, but, like the modern world, it’s also hot, uncomfortable, and full of people that annoy you. No wonder the kids are rising up against it. (Jonny Ensall)
N O T S N H O J N H O J : O T O H P
PREVIEW NEW PLAY HOME RUN The Arches, Glasgow, Tue 1 & Wed 2 Nov REVIEW ADAPTATION DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES Tron Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 29 Oct ●●●●●
‘You train as an actress, writer, director or producer for years, but meeting real people and telling real stories is what makes really great theatre,’ says Lisa Nicoll, the one-woman theatre-making machine behind 2008’s Acceptance and short film ‘Truth or Dare’. Nicoll’s latest solo show, Home Run, focuses on a
woman who returns to stay with her father while recovering from drug addiction. Convinced that it was her past that had led to the struggle with addiction, Nicoll’s protagonist is forced to face up to the truth about her drug problems and the misconceptions about herself and others that got her to where she was. Funded by the Scottish Drug Recovery Consortium,
the play aims to tackle the stigma surrounding addiction and recovery. ‘I interviewed lots of women in Glasgow and Edinburgh who were women just like the rest of us but the amount of things they were dealing with led them to turn to drugs.
‘There is a lot of judgement associated with an admission that you’ve been in drug recovery,’ Nicoll says. ‘Theatre is a really accessible way of talking about these things.’ (Lauren Mayberry)
Originally a teleplay by JP Miller from 1958, the story of Days of Wine and Roses is best known for the 1962 Oscar-nominated film starring Jack Lemmon. That story, which focuses on the plight of two average Americans, has been relocated to London by Northern Irish director Owen McCafferty. Donal and Mona are a couple from Belfast who meet in an airport, both headed for the bright lights of the UK capital to start a new life. As the narrative progresses from their meeting in 1962 through dating, marriage and eventual parenthood, it becomes apparent that formerly tee total Mona has descended into alcoholism alongside her already addicted husband.
Keith Fleming and Sally Reid give strong performances and really bring out the isolation, desperation and sadness involved in their situation. Some of the high-octane interactions and repeated emphasis on the Irish love of horse racing become slightly tiresome and the absence of the wife’s father, present in the US-based versions, seems a missed opportunity to give the audience more insight into Mona’s character and background and why she was so susceptible to the lifestyle she eventually adopts. (Lauren Mayberry)
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REVIEW NEW PLAY THE HUNTED Currently on tour throughout Scotland. Seen at Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Sat 15 Oct ●●●●●
At first glance the new production from acclaimed young person’s company Visible Fictions seems a straightforward, well-crafted, thriller, perfect for the spooky season. A wolf is at large, preying on the residents of a timeless fairytale village. One feisty young girl (Kirsty Stuart) longs to be apprenticed to the local hunter (Billy Mack), but following one entreaty too many finds herself trussed up and left out as bait in the middle of the forest. A twist of her kaleidoscope brings her into contact with a teenage boy (Roddy Cairns), seemingly also lost in the forest, but who, it turns out, is not what he seems. It’s at this point that JC Marshall’s piece – hitherto
a quietly menacing mix of Red Riding Hood and Hansel & Gretel – becomes confused, absorbing a time-travel subplot that only comes into focus at the very end. While the pace is on the whole rather languid there are some enjoyably scary moments, with the sense of otherworldliness heightened by a stylish forest set, created from row after row of hanging lights. (Allan Radcliffe)
20 Oct–17 Nov 2011 THE LIST 111